Relations with Poland at the top of agenda for Angela Merkel
The increasingly strained ties between Poland and the rest of the EU is becoming a growing concern for Germany. Since the nationalist Law and Justice Party came into power in 2015, Germany has expressed its worries over various issues, including the North Stream II gas pipeline project and Poland’s refusal to take part in the quota system for asylum seekers.
Michal Dworczyk, head of the Polish prime minister’s office said the gas pipeline “North Stream 2 will be one of the important issues on this meeting agenda, as well as the future of the European Union, the EU future budget and many other issues.” The pipeline has already been approved, however Poland has urged that sanctions should be imposed on it. Joanna Kopcinska said Warsaw hoped for “a good and pragmatic cooperation with Berlin.”
This, along with fears over the recent judicial reforms and general migration policies, will be top of the agenda for the upcoming visit. German chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and President Andrzej Duda to discuss the concerns. Considering the recent advances that has been made by anti-migrant policies in other EU states like Austria and Italy, the stakes are high and the German chancellor said that it’s important that the emphasis is put on European unity.
She hopes that the meeting will highlight Germany’s support for the former Soviet bloc member. This is particularly important given the uncertainty and growing tensions with relations between Russia and the US. “Merkel has the chance to make clear to the Polish government that Europe’s democrats must stand together against Putin and Trump, also for the sake of Poland,” said Franziska Brantner, foreign policy spokeswoman for the German Greens.
Michal Baranowski, head of the Warsaw office of the German Marshall Fund added “The visit of Chancellor Merkel shows that Germany cares about good relations with Poland. (It) shows a desire at the highest level to fix the relationship.”